Briefly describe the work you do.
Each piece starts with a single photograph that I manipulate on the computer in many ways before I am satisfied with the finished artwork. I import the base image into a modular graphics-synthesizer program where I can distort and reflect specific elements into kaleidoscopic forms. By operating different functions and formulas—polar space, fractal space, assorted modulations, reflections, waves, distortions, symmetry—I identify, save, and collect a series of images; I call them “foundlings.” In the next step, I use image-editing software, I mask out areas to reveal only the juiciest parts of the foundlings. I continue by stacking them into multiple layers, then manipulate shadows and lighting to create an illusion of depth. As the work develops, I return to the modular graphic-synthesizer, creating additional foundlings as needed.
Tell us about your background and how that has had an influence on your work and on you as an artist
I found my passion for art in my early primary school years. In high school I discovered geometry and did not hesitate to fuse mathematics with my artwork, exploring intersecting circles, and patterns. There was a distinct and immediate marriage of mathematical precision and aesthetic beauty. In college, I continued with art mainly, but still took the occasional math class “for fun.” Through college and into graduate school, I studied art and art education. I created a curriculum for Junior High students teaching geometric concepts and construction using art methods. My biggest breakthrough in art came with the advent of the graphic based computer. I fell in love with the process of creating images on screen and over the years, I found software that was able to merge my love of geometry with my art.
The concept of the artist studio has a broad range of meanings in contemporary practice. Artists may spend much of their time in the actual studio, or they may spend very little time in it. Tell us about your individual studio practice and how it differs from or is the same as traditional notions of “being in the studio.”
I work at home, from my computer. I have a room set up with a wide format printer that I use mainly to make proofs of my work in progress. The actual printing of my pieces goes out to be processed.
What roles do you find yourself playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?
I was not prepared for the amount of promotion and I have to do in this age of Social Media.
When do you find is the best time to make art? Do you set aside a specific time everyday or do you have to work whenever time allows?
Whenever I can carve out the time, I like to make art. I find I get lost in my pieces so it is important to have several hours to dedicate at a time. However, the digital nature of my work makes it relatively easy to pick up a piece in the middle of its completion and continue, sometimes years later. I think I work best in the afternoon.
How has your work changed in the past five years? How is it the same?
I began The Kaleidoscope Mandala Project about five years ago, so the form of my work totally changed in that time frame. My skill using the software tools has grown considerably, but I am using the same software to create my art that I have used for over a decade. I think my decision making process, which is key for an artist, has gotten sharper so my work is more refined.
How have people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers, other artists or even pop icons had an impact on the work you do?
My father was an amateur photographer and some of his favorite subjects were flowers grown in my mother’s garden. My mother was a bit of a plant collector, so the flower forms were often unusual and rare. I took after both of them, planting my own garden and photographing the blooms. These are the photographs that were used in the beginning of this project.
Have you ever been pulled in the direction of a pursuit other than being an artist? What are your other interests?
Yes and no. I have many pursuits that do take me away from my artwork. I act with a community theater ensemble and sing with a choir. I like to travel and much of my photography is taken while traveling. But these do not take me away from my true passion, creating my artwork and getting out into the world.
Hochman Brown had found her passion for art in her early primary school years. In high school she discovered geometry and did not hesitate to fuse mathematics with her artwork, exploring intersecting circles, and patterns. To the artist, there was a distinct and immediate marriage of mathematical precision and aesthetic beauty. After she received a B.A. in Art from Pitzer College in Claremont, she continued to study math and did post-graduate work at California College of Arts and Crafts, creating a course titled Construction Geometry Via Art. She taught this curriculum at the Arts Magnet High School in Oakland, CA and in Altadena at the Waldorf School. In 1984, after buying her first Macintosh computer, she further tightened the role and interconnection of art and math via the medium of technology. She went back to school again, taking classes at UCLA and Art Center College of Design, to study computer-based graphic design. Using her years of education and experience, the artist creates digital art that explores “hidden worlds” within manipulated reflections of flower imagery, using fractal geometry-based software.
All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.